BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A farm in Carroll County pairs retired or injured racehorses with inmates to develop skills for re-entry into society, as well as trust and unconditional love.
The Second Chances Farm saves racehorses who might have gone to slaughter and matches them with offenders looking for a path to redemption.
“The motto here is second chances, everyone deserves one… everybody needs somebody,” prison inmate Pablo Lancaster said.
Lancaster, 35, has been incarcerated for more than a decade on burglary charges.
“You never know who to trust, you never know the agenda from a person, you don’t know until you try,” he said.
Retired thoroughbred racehorse Papa has helped Lancaster emotionally, teaching him to trust again and love.
“What the horses provide that other programs can’t provide is stronghold in learning about relationships,” Second Chances director Sarah Stein said.
Second Chances helps inmates from the nearby Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville to show them how to care for the majestic animals and experience the therapeutic benefits.
“There are 40-year-old men who I meet who don’t have any sense of who they are and no sense of their self-worth and what they are capable of. Six months is a short period to plant some seeds for that but that’s what I want to try and do,” Stein said.
“Me trusting that animal, and that animal trusting me and confidence and me having confidence in that animal,” Lancaster said.
The inmates feed, groom and clean the horses as well as other field work to upkeep the farm.
This is one of nine programs in the country to partner with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.